An Interview with Jules Batterman of Julez and The Rollerz

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Julez and The Rollerz are an eccentric group of rockers who are well on their way to the rock-based music elite.

While Julez (Jules Batterman) and her trusty rhythm section, The Rollerz (Rachel David & Steve Donofrio), still retain a charming old-school tone in their songs, their offering is also compelling and modern. These talented young artists are able to project the Blues into the new millennium, catering to a new generation of fans.

In particular, Julez and The Rollerz excel as live performers, as they can truly kick things up a notch on a stage. Julez and The Rollerz are a pocket full of surprises as they mix different genres to come up with some unique venues of colors within their arrangements. Julez, in particular, has a down-to-earth “Beauty and the Beat” look and a voice to match.

If you would like to learn more about Julez and the Rollerz, you can head over to the band’s website. Enjoy this interview with Jules. Cheers.

Bio courtesy of julezandtherollerz.com.

Andrew:
Jules, thank you for taking the time to speak with us here. It’s been such an odd time. How are you holding up?

Jules:
Thank you so much for having me! It’s been an incredibly odd time….honestly I’m just barely holding up at this point.

Andrew:
Let’s talk about your background, your musical origins, so to speak? How did it all begin for you?

Jules:
It all began when I was only a tot. I’ve been singing since I was first able to talk and grew up around a bunch of amazing singers such as my mom, aunt, and grandma. Singing has always been my main outlet. I took piano lessons for a few years as a kid, dabbled with the flute and trumpet for a second, and started teaching myself how to play guitar at around 8 years old. Of course I dropped the piano since (big mistake), and singing and electric guitar are now my two main instruments!

Andrew:
Let’s talk about the new tracks you’ve got coming out, “In Secure City” and “Knocks Me On The Floor.” How did they come together? Tell us about the recording and the inspiration for your new material.

Jules:
These two tracks I’ve had about half finished for almost 2 years now, and it took the mundaneness of quarantine life to really push me into finishing them. I finally introduced them to my band over the summer and we recorded them with Evan Taylor in his downtown studio Loantaka Sound. “In Secure City” is more or less about living in Los Angeles as a transplant and as an artist, feeling insecure about all of the connections and people I meet along the way.

Andrew:
Let’s talk more about the band. Julez and The Rollerz consist
of yourself, Rachel David, and Steve Donofrio, right? Tell us how the band came together. What’s the backstory?

Jules:
I started performing as “Julez” in NYC back in 2017 and moved to Los Angeles in 2018, when I met Steve (drummer) through Facebook. He has been playing with me since I moved to Los Angeles, and Rachel I met through my friend Chelsea of Late Slip, who Rachel was playing bass with during Late Slip’s short-lived time in L.A. I basically stole Rachel after she played a few shows with us in the beginning of 2020, and I deemed her a good fit for the band. Eventually I just wanted to expand the band as ‘Julez and the Rollerz’ (Rachel came up with the name), so we could be more of a band unit working together.

Andrew:
How about songwriting in general? What’s your influence? What’s the process like? Do your lyrics come from a deep, personal space? Or are you merely telling stories?

Jules;
My lyrics are definitely quite personal and about vague situations and people in my life. Usually, when I write, the guitar melody comes first. The lyrics come a lot later. That’s just usually how my process works. I’ll come up with a lyrical melody over the guitar melody, by singing incoherent works over it for a while, and then create some lyrics out of that. I also sing into my phone and create voice memos of melodies and lyrics that pop into my head throughout the day, but I feel like everyone does that!

Andrew:
Let’s talk about the production side of things. Do you self-produce, or do you enlist outside sources to help with that? Either way, what goes into the decision?

Jules:
I definitely try not to self-produce. In the past few years, I’ve come to the realization that I need help. Evan Taylor of Loantaka Sound, with who we recently recorded these two singles introduced some awesome production into our songs, in my opinion!

Andrew:
Here is an easy one. We know you’ve got some new tracks out, but how about a full-length album? Is that in the works?

Jules:
I sure hope so!! With the pandemic still ruling over all of us, it’s so hard to say when that will be, but I’ve been aiming to start the process of recording an album with the Rollerz in the summer at Loantaka Sound again. Crossing my fingers.

Andrew:
Touring is a huge part of any working band’s proverbial machine, but sadly, COVID has mostly disallowed it. That said, what do you miss most about touring?

Jules:
I can’t say I’ve ever actually toured, because I never felt like it was an option for me honestly. I was still trying to land gigs in the cities I was living in (NYC, Los Angeles) and areas around them, but I have never actually planned a tour. I’m hoping once COVID isn’t a thing anymore, and when I have an album recorded, we can consider touring as a full band together.

Andrew:
One disturbing fact I’ve learned recently is that streaming services don’t pay or don’t pay nearly enough. What are your thoughts on that? What can we as fans do to help support the artists we love better?

Jules:
Yup. And it sucks because the amount of money, heart, and soul that goes into recording music is significantly different from the received outcome of when our work is published to the world. I’m pretty sure I made maybe $40 from streaming in 2020. It’s hard to rely on fans because fan-building is harder than it looks. Let’s support each other as artists by buying each other’s music from Bandcamp, buying merch, etc.!

Andrew:
As an artist, who are some of the group’s biggest influences? Who are the obvious ones, and maybe some not-so-obvious ones?

Jules:
Definitely Suzi Quatro, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan, The Cramps, and honestly, a little bit of Alanis Morissette thrown in there.

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Cassettes? Or are you all digital? Regardless of format, where do you like to shop for music?

Jules:
I LOVE vinyl! It’s a shame because I moved across the country; a lot of my vinyl collection is still at my parents’ house, but I restarted my collection here in Los Angeles. I love burying things off of Discogs, having them shipped from Europe or wherever, and receiving them weeks later. Part of the experience! I also enjoy supporting my friends’ Bandcamp pages when I buy music digitally.

Andrew:
What are some of your favorite albums, and why?

Jules:
I have SO many favorite albums for different reasons, but right now probably Suzi Quatro’s self-titled album because it pumps me up when driving in my car, and the same with Teenage Head from the Flamin Groovies. Also, After The Gold Rush from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell’s Blue’ and I’ve been listening to Mothership Connection by Parliament a whole lot lately, too.

Andrew:
Piggybacking onto my last question, but who are some of your favorite artists, and why?

Jules:
Well, Suzi Quatro is just my inspiration these days. Also, Neil Young, Chrissie Hynde, Betty Davis too… all inspire me. I know Rachel’s favorites are The Cramps, The Pixies, Nirvana, and The Breeders, and Steve is most inspired by King Tubby, J Dilla, Aretha Franklin, and Donny Hathaway!

Andrew:
Outside of music, what are some of your greatest passions? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Jules:
Besides music, I love making art! Illustrating and 35mm photography is what relaxes me, and connecting my art with my music is one of my favorite things! I also love roller skating!

Andrew:
Last question. In a world that’s been so confined by the constraints of big business and the alienation caused due to the internet age, how do artists find their footing these days? What advice would you have for your fellow artists?

Jules:
It’s just so hard to say now because we’re trying to figure it out ourselves. I think the best thing to do right now is to cultivate relationships with new potential fans and other artists. It’s the most honest way.

Interested in learning more about Julez and The Rollerz? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.
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